Parenting is tough, and each school year brings anxiety and hope: What will my children accomplish this year? How will they grow? Will they be happy? Below are five tips to guide you through the year. I promise you that if you follow them, you will take a huge step in raising responsible, independent kids.
- Vow to grow your kids’ independence by stepping back. Kids must learn how to advocate for themselves, how to talk to adults, and how to resolve conflicts constructively. They will never learn if you keep doing it for them.
- Love them enough to let them fail. Kids MUST learn how to overcome adversity, or they will find themselves in the real world being crushed by every hard knock. Failures in school are actually small failures in the scope of life. Don’t deprive your kids of the opportunity to learn from mistakes.
- Facilitate. Do not control. It’s okay to help with homework by explaining an ambiguous concept or helping your children work a problem, but that’s where your help should end. Instead, encourage your kids to ask teachers for extra help and teach them to persevere through difficult work. Learning and “doing school” is their job, not yours.
- Make school their number one priority. This means they arrive on time and every day. Work, extracurriculars, sports – they’re all great, but they’re secondary to school. Make sure your kids go to bed at a decent time, without their cell phones, and a set time is built into every day for homework, reading, and thinking – no distractions.
- Partner with your children’s teachers. They are your allies and you both want the same thing – for your children to be successful. Teach your children to respect their teachers by modeling that respect yourself. Give teachers the benefit of the doubt and extend to them the same grace you want them to extend to your children.
I share hundreds more tips like these in my book Teenagers 101. Read it now and start the school year with all the information you need to help your kids find success!